Local Home Spiced Rum = Yum!

Fruit of the Quenepa Tree

Fruit of the Quenepa Tree

Bili is the name of a home spiced rum very popular here on Vieques Island and throughout Puerto Rico.

The Quenepa Tree, also known as Mamoncillo produces a fruit that is used in the making of this traditional rum based drink.

Here is a link to an article by Julia Morton published by Purdue University giving a lot of information about the Quenepa Tree.


Typically the local recipe consists of 750ml of white rum, 20 to 30 peeled Quenepa fruits, brown sugar to taste, a cinnamon stick and a vanilla bean or extract.

Two Versions of Bili

Two Versions of Bili

In the bottle pictured on the left I followed the typical recipe but substituted one half cup local honey for the brown sugar and I used one eighth teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice Powder instead of a cinnamon stick as well as one eighth teaspoon vanilla extract. In the bottle on the right I added some loose German Dried Fruit and Flower Tea along with whole black peppercorns. I omitted the cinnamon and vanilla.

A third version of Bili

A third version of Bili

The final bottle pictured was infused with Bay Leaf, a piece of Star Anise, whole Green Cardamon, Whole Nutmeg as well as a local herb called Recao del Monte which has a strong Cilantro like taste.

These spiced infusions should be left to mellow for up to one month before drinking. They can be very refreshing at a beach outing and are normally served over ice and can be garnished with almost any type of local citrus fruit. They may sometimes be laced with more rum in the glass for a more fiery effect.

A true slice of Puerto Rican Life in a bottle!


Published in: on September 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Goodness, those do look yummy!
    i need to find me some Quenepa… i wonder about the seed and the skin in bitters… hmm Quenepa Bitters– has a nice ring to it.

    • I never thought about Quenepa Bitters forrest! Great idea. The skins are very tannic.

      • I found the fruit, such as it is around the large seed, to be very astringent. I bet it would make a very good batch of bitters.

  2. That does sound very good, if I can find some quenepa’s up here im doing it! I think I’d stick with the original recipe to start though.

    • The original recipe is a great way to start James.

  3. Jim, glad you found a use for the empty Bambarra Reserve bottle!! I love the taste of quenepa’s, but they are rarely seen here, but I do have few small trees growing in my backyard from discarded seeds!!

    • Keep those seedlings well watered Bob and soon you’ll have some fun!

  4. I would definetily like to try this and – bitters? what a great idea provided the seeds and skin(or roots?)are suitable.

    There`s just one problem..this tree doesn´t grow in sweden..



    • I’m going to have to do some experiments with bitters of Quenepa.

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